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16 ways to drive qualified Web site traffic (pt. 1 of 2) Which came first, the chicken or the egg? What comes first, drive traffic or optimize for visitor conversions? Both scenarios are a bit of a catch-22. You risk hard earned dollars on traffic building if no (or few) visitors take favorable action. And you can't capture leads or generate online sales without visitors.
So which should you do first?
Since you need some traffic, invest in methods capable of producing at least 300 unique visitors per month. Use the traffic to first measure Web site effectiveness and calculate your average visitor conversion rate. Once optimized for conversion, it then makes sense to invest in further traffic building initiatives. Doing so will help incrementally maximize your traffic building ROI.
If you're short on budget money from the get go, start with less expensive or no cost channels. You'll notice each method below is marked with one to five dollar signs. Five "$" signifies a large investment, one "$" represents no cost or a nominal fee.
On with the show...
1. Optimize and submit to key Search Engines ($$$)
Invest your time or hire an expert to position your Web site within the major search engines. Once in place, the traffic will pay dividends for years to come.
If you're a "do-it-yourselfer," this article will help put you on the right track: Getting started with search engines: The Basics.
2. Deploy a linking strategy ($$)
List for free (or a fee) your Web site with relevant portals, specialty directories, and industry sites. Most are free, but a select few cost a little more than $100 per listing. Business.com and The Open Directory Project are great starting points for B2B companies.
3. Deploy a reciprocal link strategy ($)
Link to other Web sites and encourage them to link to yours. Make sure both businesses share the same target market. For example, you wouldn't want a shoe polish Web site linking to your landscaping service Web site. Vendors, partners and media sites (that cover your business beat) are great starting points. Avoid those free-for-all link farms and blind link exchange programs.
4. Traditional methods ($)
Don't forget about traditional methods such as corporate stationary, invoices, business cards, and proposals. Get creative. Highlight a link to a customer discount page on every invoice or feature an incentive for visiting your Web site on the back of your business card. Go the extra mile and couple that with a "limited offer" or "soon to expire" note.
5. Traditional media and advertising outlets ($$$$$)
Be sure to continue using classifieds, newspapers, and trade journals. They're a little more expensive, but a great source of exposure and traffic. Include your Web address and give readers a reason to visit. TIP: "For more information" is not the most compelling incentive to visit a Web site.
6. News releases and media campaigns ($$)
Public relations can work wonders for a new business, not to mention keep an existing business at the forefront of mind share. Each time your company has something newsworthy to share (such as a free service or innovation), be sure to submit your press releases to your editorial outlets. Don't forget to send electronic (or hard) copies to your prospects, customers, and vendors. Include a link to your Web site.
7. In-house email marketing ($)
Send timely offers to customer and prospect through email. Be sure to get permission and comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Include a link back to the aforementioned section of your Web site. For example, if you're running a special on a particular service, link directly to that Web page as opposed to just the home page. Treat the email like any other direct mail piece and use consumer psychology and an incentive for fast turn around.
8. Attend networking events frequented by your target market ($)
If you sell to CIOs, attend CIO-type seminars. Network before and after. Deliver your verbal business card / elevator pitch and mention a reason for visiting your Web site.
Need something with substance? Try this on for size...
"Mr. CIO, it was great meeting you too. Oh, before I forget. Since you seemed somewhat intrigued with our new accounting software, let me give you an inside tip.
Go to our Web site and list your name. The first 50 who do so get a free sixty day trail and an option to buy the software at half price. It's an excellent opportunity and well worth the two minute task. I believe we'll keep the offer up for another day or so."
That's all for now. Next article we'll have more fun with traffic building.
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Rick Costello, The Web Site Profit Doctor is a Chicago Area Web Designer who can transform your “information only” Web site into a profitable customer acquisition tool. Primary web marketing services include general website help, website design help, web site analysis, web site planning, web site competitive intelligence, web site analytics, web site impovements, web site maintenance, and seo help.
Article information and opinions herein reflect the most accurate information at the time of publication and are subject to change. Readers are free to forward this article in its entirety, but may not sell, barter or leverage it for commercial profit or gain.
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